Arsenal goes top of EPL as Liverpool loses at City
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Arsenal is back on top of the Premier League with the season about to reach its halfway point as manager Arsene Wenger looks to win the trophy for the first time in a decade.
Theo Walcott’s double ensured Liverpool’s stay atop the standings lasted less than a week as Arsenal came from behind to win 3-1 at West Ham and its title rival lost 2-1 at Manchester City on Thursday.
As Liverpool dropped to fourth, City climbed a place to second to sit a point behind Arsenal after the traditional Boxing Day program that saw every team in action.
Chelsea is wedged inbetween City and Liverpool in third after 18 games after Eden Hazard’s swerving shot secured a 1-0 victory over Swansea.
With Manchester United recovering to win 3-2 at Hull, it was left to bottom-place Sunderland to conjure the only Boxing Day shock by beating highflying Everton.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was sent off for bringing down Ki Sung-Yeung, who then scored from the penalty spot to give Sunderland a 1-0 victory against the fifth-place team.
Newcastle in closing in on the top four after routing Stoke 5-1 to remain ahead of United in sixth place.
Tottenham dropped to eighth after Tim Sherwood’s first match in full charge ended in a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion.
Cardiff could be the next club searching for a new manager as Malky Mackay’s side was beaten 3-0 by Southampton.
A change of manager has sparked a revival at Crystal Palace, with Tony Pulis producing a third success of the month after Dwight Gayle clinched a 1-0 win at Aston Villa in stoppage time.
Rene Meulensteen is celebrating his second win as Fulham manager after his struggling team came from behind to overcome Norwich 2-1.
At Upton Park, Arsenal fell behind when goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny spilled Kevin Nolan’s shot and Carlton Cole pounced to score a minute into the second half.
West Ham goalkeeper Adrian was also culpable for Arsenal’s equalizer, with Walcott cutting in from the right and shooting between his legs in the 68th.
Walcott headed Arsenal in front three minutes later, and Lukas Podolski rounded off the win that sent West Ham into the relegation zone.
City also had to come from behind to make it nine wins out of nine at home.
Phillippe Coutinho put Liverpool ahead in the 24th minute after Raheem Sterling rounded City goalkeeper Joe Hart to set him up.
Vincent Kompany headed City level seven minutes later after meeting David Silva’s corner, and Alvaro Negredo’s high shot was fumbled into the net by Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet on the stroke of halftime.
At Hull, United conceded twice in 13 minutes after traffic delayed the team’s journey.
Former United youth team player Alex Bruce rose above Patrice Evra and headed a corner on for James Chester who volleyed in his first league goal. Chester made just one appearance for United — in 2009 — and, after several spells away from Old Trafford on loan, the defender moved to Hull in 2011.
United’s defense was breached again when David Meyler’s shot deflected off Jonny Evans past goalkeeper David de Gea.
United’s comeback began with Chris Smalling heading in Wayne Rooney’s free kick, and by the 26th minute, the visitors were level. Rooney played a one-two with Danny Welbeck before volleying in his 150th league goal for United from the edge of the area.
United was gifted the winner in the 66th when Young’s cross was inadvertently headed into his own net by Chester.
Newcastle also fell behind at home to Stoke but the comeback began after the visitors had two players sent off in the last five minutes of the first half.
Glenn Whelan earned a second yellow card, and Marc Wilson was given a straight red card three minutes later for hauling Remy down inside the box.
Loic Remy’s penalty was saved by Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen but he equalized seconds later with a deflected effort.
After the break, Yoan Gouffran quickly put Newcastle in front before Remy scored his second, while Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse also netted.
On a day of comebacks, Scott Parker scored in the 87th to give Fulham a much-needed win at Norwich after Pajtim Kasami canceled out Gary Hooper’s opener for hosts.
At Cardiff, all the goals came in the first half, with Jay Rodriguez netting twice and Rickie Lambert completing a comfortable win for Southampton.